top of page

2 Years Sober




I used to think sobriety was only for people who hit “rock bottom.” I used to think sobriety was only for people who found Jesus. I used to think sobriety was super super uncool. I used to think a lot of things.


2 years ago, I didn’t intend to get sober. In fact,  I was completely against the idea. It was December 31, 2021 and I was drinking with my then-wife. She begged me to join her for Dry January. I didn’t want to. We had tried many years before and given up after ten days or two weeks. I didn’t want to waste my time. I wanted to keep drinking.


--

My first drink ignited an instant love affair that would last 14 years. I was 18 years old and had just moved to Tucson, Arizona to attend University of Arizona. My two roommates had parents who were supportive and helped them move into the apartment and decorate before classes started. That evening, just as the sun started to dip below the saguaro cacti dotted horizon, my roommates’ parents brought out a bottle of Absolut Vodka and poured us all shots to celebrate the start of college. 


I had never been around alcohol before. I did not have any friends who drank and I was raised in a home without alcohol as well. The entire experience was mysterious to me. Wanting to look cool and fit in, I took the shot. The clear liquid burned my throat as I swallowed it and within minutes, I was feeling it in my fingers and toes. The parents hugged their daughters and left us with the bottle. We continued to pour shots until we each had finished 6. Then, my roommate Audrey pulled out a pipe with some weed in it. Just hours after having my fist sips of alcohol, while experiencing my first drunken moments, I also got high for the first time. 


This started a near daily habit of cross fading that would continue until 2022.

--

Alcohol was the center of any celebration. Or difficult moment. Or a way to fill times that were boring. Or a way to loosen up socially. Alcohol made me fun. Alcohol made me happy. Alcohol gave me friends. At least, that was my perception. 


The peak of my drinking started around Covid. It began as a silly way to pass the days that seemed to be endless.  Covid slowly became real life, and responsibilities crept back in. As the burden of homeschooling  the kids got heavier, so did my drinking. As I mourned the death of my grandpa, the drinking got heavier. By  the end of 2021, I was drinking at least 3 dark beers every evening, but that would easily become 60oz of stout if I went to a brewery, which was easily a 4-5 day a week habit.


I remember my friend Maria telling me that I would have superpowers if I could quit drinking. I told her that was bullshit.


-- 


I started Dry January reluctantly in 2022. I told myself I would “detox to retox.” I thought that stopping drinking would help my tolerance. I thought I could reset my relationship with alcohol and drink less often. I hoped maybe I would lose some weight. But I knew one thing for sure-- I would go back to drinking on February 1. I only knew myself as Gina who drank. From the moment I left my parents’ house, it was the only self I knew.


The first couple weeks of Dry January were typical; I’d gotten this far before. I found myself wanting to drink, but trying hard to fill the time in the evenings with things to distract myself. I wanted to go to bed earlier because I ran out of things to do at the end of the day. The evenings seemed to drag on forever.


On January 23, everything changed. I was sitting in my office doing work like I always do, but something felt different. I had a feeling that was completely unfamiliar inside of me. It was inside my gut, but did not feel like hunger or nausea or any other physical sensation I had felt there before. I can only explain this feeling like being hungry or being horny, but craving food or sex. This feeling inside me was a deep longing. I  sat in my desk and closed my eyes, feeling this completely foreign sensation inside of me. I did not know what I was feeling, but I knew one thing: I wanted to feel it more and listen to it. And I knew that it would go away as soon as I had another drink.


I now know this feeling and am deeply familiar with it. This feeling was simply me, wanting to live for the first time.


I wasn’t sure that I wanted to quit drinking forever, but I knew I needed to give it more time. I told myself I wouldn’t drink until my birthday on March 16 and see how things went from there. 


I started reading more about the way that alcohol affects the body, especially the brain chemistry and the hormonal cycle. It can take up to 2 weeks for the body to chemically rebalance itself after as little as one drink. I started to recognize the feelings of anxiety I always had were not because I am an anxious person, but instead because of something called “hangxiety,” which comes from the serotonin dump that follows drinking. 


I wrote this in my journal on February 1:

 

1 month without alcohol has given me:

About $400 extra

Lost 10 lbs

Lower blood pressure

Lower heart rate

Healed ears

Better sleep

Better food habits

Sexxxxxxxy

A new identity

An understanding of my (in)ability to moderate

Better skin

Extra hours each day

I am more present

I am no longer cross faded

I feel less angry

More grateful and positive

I’ve broken cycles

More physical intimacy

Clearer thoughts

Better card readings

Less evening dread

~feelings~

Time to do my work that i need to do

This “alive” feeling that I can’t describe

Reading more


Something that surprised me the most was the amount of time I gained back. My evenings would start with a drink around 5pm and continue until bedtime around 10pm. Without a drink in hand, I found myself bored. I started cooking more elaborate meals. I got a 60 gallon fish tank and watched it for hours on end. I started practicing yoga again after 2 years off (and we know where this led me). I had 5 extra hours every single day that I could do anything I chose -- and this felt incredibly magical. It was like I had somehow hacked the universe and extended the day. I was getting everything I had been putting off done and still had extra time. 


I share my story, not because it is an incredible story of coming back from rock bottom, but because I hope that somebody can see some of themselves in this. I drank a lot, but I had a job and a business. I was a “productive” person. I didn’t even think I had a problem. I did not want to quit drinking. 


Instead, I simply fell in love with listening to my inner voice so deeply that I could not imagine silencing her ever again. My journey in quitting alcohol is a journey in finding myself. 


37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page